Mend Physical Therapy Blog and Injury Information

Can We Reduce Running Related Injuries Using Strength Training?

February 26, 2024

We have written numerous blogs on the benefits of strength training for our Boulder Physical Therapy clinic and Lafayette Physical Therapy clinic runners including improved health and performance, as well as, a lower risk of running related injury.  While far from a silver bullet, emerging evidence has shown strength training can reduce a runner’s risk of injury.  These effects have been more effective than changes in shoe wear and orthotics, but strength training remains a less common form of exercise for most runners.  A recent review of the literature aimed to answer the effect of strength training on running injuries.

Wu and colleagues published their review findings on the effects of strength training exercise on injuries in running athletes (Sports Med. 2024).  Authors pooled 9 studies of 1900 participants who underwent a strength training program.  Unfortunately, the type of strength training was not controlled in this review and could have included weight training, core exercises, or foot/arch strengthening.  In addition, authors did not control for exercise programs that were supervised for example by Physical Therapists or performed by runners at home.  The latter group is well known to have compliance issues which confound the results of any exercise trial.  Authors of this review did not see a significant difference between intervention or control groups but did find a injury risk was significantly lower if exercises were supervised.

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